What’s New for Designers, January 2014

Cameron Chapman By Cameron Chapman  |  Jan. 13, 2014

The January edition of what’s new for web designers and developers includes new web apps, jQuery plugins and JavaScript resources, web development tools, responsive design resources, collaboration tools, coding resources, and some really great new fonts.

Many of the resources below are free or very low cost, and are sure to be useful to a lot of designers and developers out there.

As always, if we’ve missed something you think should have been included, please let us know in the comments. And if you have an app or other resource you’d like to see included next month, tweet it to @cameron_chapman for consideration.



Duo is a web browser that lets you view both mobile and desktop versions of responsive websites you’re designing. It’s available as a bookmarklet, or as a standalone Mac program.




TimeTracker is a software-integrated time tracking app that offers automatic time capture, real-time analytics, and more. The free Basic account works with Adobe CS/CC, while paid accounts offer up additional software integration.




Coment.me makes it incredibly easy to comment or otherwise provide feedback on any URL. Just enter the website address, specify the width you’d like the page returned, and then comment, draw, or do whatever else you’d like before sharing the results.



Adaptive Backgrounds

Adaptive Backgrounds is a jQuery plugin for extracting colors from an image and applying those colors to the parent element. It’s an easy way to make your background match your images.

adaptive backgrounds


Layrs Control

Layrs Control is a free Photoshop extension to improve your workflow. You can edit layer names, remove unused effects, delete empty layers, and more.

layrs control



Typing.io is a typing practice web app specifically for programmers, which will help you with mastering all those funky characters that appear in code but don’t show up in many other places.



A Pocket Guide to Master Every Day’s Typographic Adventures

This Pocket Guide to Master Every Day’s Typographic Adventures offers up excellent guidance for all sorts of typographic questions you may face on a daily basis, from how to mix typefaces to choosing font size and line height and much more.

typographic adventures



Passweird is a complex password generator that creates “utterly repulsive” passwords that no one would want to steal.




Unison.js is a small plugin (well under 1kb) that lets you declare named breakpoints in a single place and sync them automatically across both your JavaScript and markup files.




Origami is a Quartz Composer toolkit for design prototyping. It makes it easy to create interactive prototypes, without the need for any programming.




Myth is a preprocessor, like a CSS polyfill. It lets you write pure CSS without worrying about things like slow spec approval or slow browser support.



Social Kit

Social Kit is a Photoshop plugin for creating cover images, profile pictures, ad banners and more for your favorite social platforms, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube.

social kit



Typecsset is a Sass library for setting type on the web, with an automatic, pixel-perfect, baseline grid that’s easy to use.




Readymag is a simple web publishing tool for any kind of digital storytelling, from presentations to rich media magazines and microsites. It’s cross-browser compatible and doesn’t require any coding skills.



Writer Pro

Writer Pro is a professional writing suite that includes note-taking, writing, and editing tools. It’s under $20 for either OS X or iOS.

writer pro



Planetary.js lets you create fully customizable, interactive globes for the web. It includes tools for displaying animated “pings” anywhere on the map, along with mouse drag and zoom support.




Magnifier.js is a JavaScript library for creating a magnifying glass effect on your images. It includes zoom functionality using the mouse wheel, as well as the ability to display the magnified image within the lens or externally in a wrapper, among other features.



Color Thief

Color Thief is a script for grabbing the color palette from any image using JavaScript and the Canvas tag.

color thief



Picjumbo is a collection of totally free stock photos that you can use for your personal or commercial works. There are a variety of categories to choose some, with more photos added every day.



The Best Freelance Tools of 2013

The Best Freelance Tools of 2013 is a curated collection of tools from the past year that are certain to be incredibly useful for designers and other freelancers. It includes tools for finding clients, dealing with money, remote communication, and more.

best freelance tools of 2013



Dillinger is a cloud-enabled HTML5 Markdown editor that’s based on Ace Editor, Bootstrap, Marked, node.js, and more.



Pinegrow Web Designer

Pinegrow is an app for Windows and Mac that makes it fast and easy to mockup and design web pages with (or without) Bootstrap, multi-page editing, and Less.




Makeappicon generates all the icon sizes you need for iOS and Android with just one click.



Black Tie

Black Tie offers a collection of free Bootstrap themes that are actually good-looking. There are themes for app landing pages, contact pages, and much more.

black tie


Really Simple HTML Email Template

This Really Simple HTML Email Template is an easy to use template for creating your own HTML emails. It can be used, modified, and copied as you wish.

email template


Asfalto (free)

Asfalto is a free distressed display font designed by Fernando Forero. It comes in all caps, yet remains readable even at smaller sizes.



Hallo Sans (free)

Hallo Sans is a stylized sans serif typeface that comes in light, regular, and black weights.

hallo sans


Barokah (free)

Barokah is a free uppercase and lowercase display handwriting font that’s perfect for things like comic books. It comes in regular and bold weights.



Odin Rounded (free)

Odin Rounded is a free experimental font with a clean, linear look. It comes in three weights: regular, bold, and light, with support for opentype features.

Odin Rounded


Purbacala ($12)

Purbacala is an ornate, decorative typeface with a handdrawn look. It comes in inline, regular, and bold styles.



Love Hearts ($20)

Love Hearts is a set of calligraphic ornaments and frames, including patterns and seamless borders, all in OTF format.

love hearts


Rodian Serif ($10)

Rodian Serif is a modern rounded font in six styles, revisited by Jan-Christian Bruun. It comes in light, regular, and bold weights, as well as three matching stencil weights.

rodian serif


Hadron ($10)

Hadron is a display typeface with two variants: a standard clean and clear sans serif, and an alternative with more pictographic letterforms.



Gluten ($16.48)

Gluten is an experimental font family with irregular shadows that portray craftsmanship, and high contrast between thick and thin strokes in the letterforms.



The Serif Hand ($25)

The Serif Hand is a handwritten serif typeface that is generic, highly readable, and well-balanced, so it’s versatile for any kind of design.

serif hand


Know of a new app or resource that should have been included but wasn’t? Let us know in the comments!